Monday, January 31, 2011

The White House disrespects the courts

I am getting very tired of the White House and all of its disrespect for the courts. We have already had Barack Obama using a State of the Union address to attack a Supreme Court decision. That was appalling. I do not agree with that Court decision (basically giving corporations personhood) but Mr. Obama's attack did not belong in a State of the Union address.

Today a federal judge has ruled that ObamaCare is unconstitutional. Kelly Kennedy and Joan Biskupic (USA Today) report:

"We don't believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld and we are confident that the (law) will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts," wrote Stephanie Cutter, deputy senior adviser to President Obama, on the White House blog.

Excuse me? That is the White House website and we pay for it just as we pay Ms. Cutter's salary. We do not need the White House sneering "judicial activisim."

What was that grand standing in Tuscon that President Obama was doing earlier this month? I thought he was calling for greater civility.

I would love to know how Ms. Cutter disagreeing with a judicial decision and taking to the White House blog to slam it as "judicial activism" increases civility?

This is becoming a pattern with this administration.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, January 31, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, the death toll in Iraq for January is double what it was in December, Nouri al-Maliki attempts to defend his power grab, some rush to again defend Julian Assange while ignoring attacks on Bradley Manning, a new US report finds things are very shaky in Iraq, and more.

We'll start with Julian Assange just because I'm sick of the nonsense. We've said for sometime that Assange is not a journalist and he's not. He might, many months back, have been comparable to a book publisher and qualified as a journalist by that route. But he's not and has never been a journalist. Apologies to Jim because we toyed with writing about this subject at Third but couldn't pull it together. I'm grabbing it now. David Swanson (War Is A Crime) is outraged by a CBS profile on Julian Assange which aired Sunday. Among David's many complaints, "The CBS program 60 Minutes has just published video of an interview with Wikileaks' Julian Assange -- with the video focused, of course, on Assange himself, with almost no substantive content related to the massive crimes and abuses that have made news around the globe." For the record, 60 Minutes is a TV show; therefore, it "airs" reports, it does not "publish" them. The report aired Sunday night. First off, the profile on Julian Assange was billed as just that. Drop back to Friday's snapshot where we noted the upcoming broadcast and included their description of the segment: "Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, speaks to Steve Kroft about the U.S. attempt to indict him on criminal charges and the torrent of criticism aimed at him for publishing classified documents. (This is a double-length segment.)" Expressing shock today over what aired *Sunday* is a bit like going to one of Bruce Willis' shoot-em-up-bang-bang movies and leaving the theater complaining that you had no idea there would be violence in the film.



The segment was as advertised. David's also unhappy with Steve Kroft's style. That's fine, call it out. But to read David's long piece is to get that it's not really about Kroft. Take the criticism about Kroft not providing "substantive coverage" of WikiLeaks' 'exposures.' David never wrote the same about Amy Goodman. But Goody spent an hour (she called it an hour -- more like 45 minutes) with Assange on July 28th and she dealt far less with WikiLeaks' exposures. She wasted time, for example, asking Assange about the damage that might come from the Congress passing a law -- she asked Australian citizen Julian Assange about the US Congress passing a law. A topic he was clearly not qualified to speak on and no one should be surprised by that fact. It takes a real idiot (or maybe a xenophobe who assumes the whole world knows and follows the US Congress and how it makes a law and how . . .). She provided a lot of gossip. Steve Kroft -- we can cover this at Third where we can lay it out all side by side -- covered more of the exposures than did Goodman and where was David's angry article about Amy Goodman putting the BS in Panhandle Media? No where to be found.



The problem isn't 60 Minutes and it's not Steve Kroft. That's not to say either is above criticism. That is to say, Julian Assange agreed to a celebrity profile and that's what he got. It can be argued that at any point with Kroft (or with Goodman), Assange could have been raising exposures but didn't do that.



The problem is Julian Assange is emerging and he's not conforming with his fan base. Here, we called out the CNN 'reporter' who blew an interview with Assange. We called it out because the segment was supposed to be about the exposures but she made it instead about Assange. I have never had as much pressure from CNN friends to correct something. We haven't corrected it, that entry's still up. But as they argued for their reporter, they repeatedly told stories about Assange. He is not the man his fan boy base thinks he is. That's why we began to note immediately after that Julian Assange is the public face of WikiLeaks but he is not WikiLeaks. At this point, that may no longer be true due to the fact that so many have now jumped ship.



CNN refused to go into business with Assange for a reason. Other outlets were happy to go along with the source. Those include Der Spiegel, the Guardian and the New York Times. And fan boys like David Swanson never called that out. That went against WikiLeaks entire reason for being. WikiLeaks was where the people would find information, information that others tried to hide. Suddenly, the information was being filtered. A filter was completely against WikiLeak's reason for being. (Some have attacked WikiLeaks over not censoring names in an early document release. We didn't attack them for that and I defended them here over that noting that they are not supposed to be altering the documents in any way, they are supposed to be providing sunlight.) As the releases continued to be coordinated with the press, WikiLeaks stopped putting it online. Oh, they'd do so in a week or a few weeks or maybe a month . . .



No, that's not the mission statement or purpose of WikiLeaks. That's when people start leaving. Not because they're jealous of Julian Assange but because WikiLeaks is not living it up to its stated purpose. Julian Assange doesn't believe in the power of the internet. That's why he went to old media. He could have cut in a website -- The Huffington Post, for example. He didn't. He spat on new media and it's so amazing to watch as those spat upon rush to defend repeatedly.



Julian Assange is not a journalist. What he has done is be a source. And outlets have been far too kind to his whims. And maybe if John F. Burns (and his co-writer, but to the world, it is now John F. Burns' article) had been honest enough about what was going on, he could have written an honest article instead of one that read like an attack because it was an attack. Julian Assange isn't a journalist. He chases celebrity.



That's why he agreed to the CBS interview to begin with. Assange has no plans to come to the US. So why is he granting an interview to CBS? To promote WikiLeaks? If so, look at his own answers because Kroft's bringing up more specifics on revelations that Julian Assange does.



In Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark's "An Inside Look at Difficult Negotiaions with Julian Assange," portrays the source's ego mania in a lengthy article and the most disturbing paragraph for Assange (and his groupies) would probably be this one where, having decided the Der SpiegelNew York Times is no longer 'in the loop,' Assange is confronting the Guardian and Der Spiegel in a meeting to find out if the Times has copies of the latest cables and how they got hold of them:


The mood was tense. "Does the New York Times have a copy?" Assange wanted to know. He repeated the question, and it sliced through the room, which by now was very still. "And if so, where did it get a copy?" Assange mentioned the written agreement he had signed with the Guardian in the summer, which stipulated that WikiLeaks was merely providing the Guardian with the embassy cables for its review, and that publication or duplication was only permissible with the consent of WikiLeaks. Assange felt that a breach of contract had taken place, which is why he had brought along his attorneys.


Check out the ego mania of Assange and how ridiculous he sounds insisting that the US government cables (which deserved to see the light of day, no question) must not be shared witout his consent and if they were shared with another paper this would be a violation of the written agreement? There's not a big difference between Assange's attacks and postures and those of the US State Dept. And, as the paragraph demonstrates, WikiLeaks was no longer WikiLeaks. It was about making Julian Assange a celebrity. That's what's destroyed the organization and why a number of people have left it and are setting up a new version which will adhere to the beliefs WikiLeaks once espoused. Note this paragraph and, Mascolo is Georg Mascolo, editor-in-chief of the Guardian.


Assange was using terms like "theft" and "criminal activities," against which he said he would take legal action, because the copy was, as he claimed, "illegal." At that moment, he was apparently unaware of the dual meaning of what he had just said. Mascolo replied: "There are nothing but illegal copies of this material."



Assange sounds like an idiot, granted. But grasp that someone risked their job (at the very least) to provide WikiLeaks with the material and instead of releasing it -- the WikiLeaks motto be damned, apparently -- Assange is having a freak-fest over the fact that it may get released.



None of these documents should have ever gone through the MSM to begin with. The Collateral Murder video got substantial attention and coverage after WikiLeaks published it online. And that's not just my argument, that's also the argument that took place inside WikiLeaks. The question was why, with no announcement (let alone discussion), WikiLeaks was transforming from a conduit of information directly to the people to one now using a filter (the MSM) and refusing to post the documents online?



Bill Keller had a lengthy article (like the Der Spiegel article, Keller's is actually part of a new book) in the New York Times' Sunday Magazine recounting the paper's interactions with Julian Assange:



Three months later, with the French daily Le Monde added to the group, we published Round 2, the Iraq War Logs, including articles on how the United States turned a blind eye to the torture of prisoners by Iraqi forces working with the U.S., how Iraq spawned an extraordinary American military reliance on private contractors and how extensively Iran had meddled in the conflict.
By this time, The Times's relationship with our source had gone from wary to hostile. I talked to Assange by phone a few times and heard out his complaints. He was angry that we declined to link our online coverage of the War Logs to the WikiLeaks Web site, a decision we made because we feared -- rightly, as it turned out -- that its trove would contain the names of low-level informants and make them Taliban targets. "Where's the respect?" he demanded. "Where's the respect?" Another time he called to tell me how much he disliked our profile of Bradley Manning, the Army private suspected of being the source of WikiLeaks's most startling revelations. The article traced Manning's childhood as an outsider and his distress as a gay man in the military. Assange complained that we "psychologicalized" Manning and gave short shrift to his "political awakening."
The final straw was a front-page profile of Assange by John Burns and Ravi Somaiya, published Oct. 24, that revealed fractures within WikiLeaks, attributed by Assange's critics to his imperious management style. Assange denounced the article to me, and in various public forums, as "a smear."
Assange was transformed by his outlaw celebrity. The derelict with the backpack and the sagging socks now wore his hair dyed and styled, and he favored fashionably skinny suits and ties. He became a kind of cult figure for the European young and leftish and was evidently a magnet for women. Two Swedish women filed police complaints claiming that Assange insisted on having sex without a condom; Sweden's strict laws on nonconsensual sex categorize such behavior as rape, and a prosecutor issued a warrant to question Assange, who initially described it as a plot concocted to silence or discredit WikiLeaks.
I came to think of Julian Assange as a character from a Stieg Larsson thriller -- a man who could figure either as hero or villain in one of the megaselling Swedish novels that mix hacker counterculture, high-level conspiracy and sex as both recreation and violation.



Bill Keller has not attacked Assange. But complexities escape the fan boys. (Doyle McManus has a commentary I haven't read yet but a friend at the Los Angeles Times asked for a link to it. Doyle's generally making several astute points and I'm sure someone in the community will end up quoting from it at their site tonight.) At the end of the day, has Assange been good or bad for WikiLeaks? They have had revelations make big splashes in MSM and that's a plus. Would they have had big splashes if they'd continued to follow the model they preached? No one knows but the fact that they morphed into something in complete opposition to what they preached is a minus. Assange became the story because Assange wanted to be the story. That's why he agreed to the celebrity profile. He is not and never has been Daniel Ellsberg. He is not a whistle blower. That would be the people who supplied WikiLeaks with information. Information which Julian Assange now sits on -- grasp that -- and claims he will release if there are any deaths.



Uhm, I kind of think people who risked (at the very least) their jobs to provide WikiLeaks with information did so because they wanted the information to be out there in the public, not because they wanted to provide Julian Assange with a bargaining chip he could use to whip up even more press attention.



Greg Palast has warned about Julian Assange but the fan boy base wanted to ignore Palast. That's very strange considering I can't think of another time when the fan boy base has shut Palast out. But what Palast saw was an ever increasing gulf between what WikiLeaks stated it was doing and what it actually did. And by that measure, the current WikiLeaks is a failure. Hopefully, those who have left the organization to start OpenLeaks will fair better with the failure of WikiLeaks as an example. Jim, Dona, Ava and I came up with an outline a few weeks back on what we'd cover if we wrote a piece on WikiLeaks. I have deliberately ignored some of the points Jim and Dona raised so those aspects can be picked up at Third if they want.



But David Swanson has written a lengthy piece about Julian Assange today and about how poor Julian has been mistreated and yet again we're not focusing on real issues as a result. It's really past time that the fan boys stop rushing to defend their hero. He has clay feet, he's far from perfect and they need to let go of the illusions they hold of him and grow up. They have confused the best of WikiLeaks with Julian Assange and have taken to attacking facts because facts don't fit into their scheme. Here's a fact for you, the late and great Jaqueline Susann did more interviews than Julian Assange could ever dream of and, once she became a novelist, in every one of them, she ensured her books would be mentioned by mentioning her books. She plugged her books relentlessly. If she couldn't get on the program -- Johnny Carson had banned her from NBC's Tonight Show, for example -- she'd find another way to get her book mentioned (guest Bette Davis in Johnny's case). If Julian Assange wanted the revelations talked about in the interview with CBS, he would have ensured that they were talked about. Or are his fan boys admitting that Jacqueline Susann was far smarter than he is?



David Swanson picked Steve Kroft to go after and the real question there is why he's yet to defend Bradley Manning from the hatchet job Nancy A. Youssef did on him -- excuse me, the most recent hatchet job she's done on him. Who is Bradley Manning? Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. Paul Courson (CNN) notes Bradley is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say." If the accusations are true, he's the hero everyone should be worrying about (not Julian Assange). If the accusations ar false (and they're false until proven in court), then an innocent person is being railroaded. In either case, Nancy A. Youssef did a hatchet job in print last week. Maybe people can be forgiven for missing all of her attacks on Bradley when she's been a guest on The Diane Rehm Show. However, when she attacks in print and many other outlets pick up on her smears and attacks, maybe David Swanson should set Julian Assange aside long enough to try defending Bradley? For those late to the party, we spent four paragraphs in Friday's snapshot calling out Youssef's attack on Bradley:




It means we don't link to Nancy A. Youssef's article for McClatchy Newspapers. Why not? Go through our archives, do a search of this site with "The Diane Rehm Show" and "Nancy A. Youssef" and "Bradley Manning" as key terms. Nancy has been on a one-woman witch hunt with regards to Bradley. She has repeatedly convicted him on air on The Diane Rehm Show -- not just once, not just twice, not just three times. She has done this over and over and over. (Though a guest on today's show, she didn't discuss Bradley -- they were obsessed with Egypt -- which had already been an hour long topic on Thursday's Diane Rehm Show but still became the thrust of today's international hour.) Nancy is also very close to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

A number of outlets are putting the claims in Nancy's bad article out there and treating them as fact. Let's review it. (If you must read it, the title is "Probe: Army ignored warnings over soldier" and you can Google that.) Nancy knows about an Army report -- how? Her friends she leaves unnamed. (But I can name them.) This report is the result of an investigation, she says, and it found unflattering things about Bradley. She says. And she can say so, she says, because she has "two military officials familiar with investigation" (but not the report?) who talked to her. Once upon a time, you had to have three sources. Always wonder about unsourced claims with two sources. Though she hasn't seen the report, Nancy yacks on and on about the report -- when not -- FOR NO NATURAL REASON -- bringing in Major Nidal Hasan. That's your clue that Nancy's gone skinny dipping in a cesspool she wants to pass off as journalism. Hasan shot dead many at Fort Hood. So Nance just wants to bring him into the article for . . . local color? Extra seasoning? She knows what she's doing and she knows it's not journalism.

You've been repeatedly warned about McClatchy of late and about Nancy in particular who is sending off alarms at McClatchy. What she's done is write a smear-job, she has not reported. For her friends in the Defense Dept, she has attacked Bradley in an unsourced article that doesn't pass the smell test. There is a term for it, "yellow journalism." She should be ashamed of herself and everyone running with the claims she's making in this article needs to ask how they think they're helping Bradley?

They also should note that Nancy made no effort to get a comment from Bradley's attorney. While painting Bradley in an unflattering light throughout her article, she never tries for a quote, she only repeats what her Defense 'chums' and . . . tell her. She's becoming the new Judith Miller and that's her fault but also the fault of a lot of people who should have been calling her out months ago but let her slide and slide.




Innocent or guilty of leaking, Bradley needs defenders. He's not traipsing around an English manor.



Today the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction issued a 156-page [PDF format warning] "Quarterly Reports To Congress." Walter Pincus (Washington Post) notes, "In recent months, the Interior Ministry has reported the assassinations of 'nearly 240' Iraqi Security Forces and intelligence personnel and about 120 civilian government employees, according to the report." It's these attacks as well as economic issues that lead to conclusions that the government set up in Iraq is not very sturdy. AP's lede on this story is: "Without more help -- and quickly -- Iraqi security forces may not be able to protect the fragile nation from insurgents and invaders after American troops leave at the end of the year, according to a U.S. report released Sunday." And that's offering the sunny side of a report -- ignoring the institutions that are so lacking in Iraq. The UK's Morning Star is much more upfront about the report than AP, "US fears that a popular uprising will overwhelm Iraq's shaky security forces were exposed today in a report by the occupation's special inspector general for reconstruction. It warned that legal systems were still unstable and access to basic services such as water, sewage disposal and electricity could be flashpoints for mass unrest among ordinary people - "more so than political or sectarian disagreements." The people. The Iraqi people who have had this government imposed upon them by outsiders.



Basic services result in protests all the time in Iraq, the vast majority of them go unreported -- even when they take place in Baghdad. Yesterday, Ayas Hossam Acommock (Al Mada) reported on a Sunday demonstration held in Firdous Square with "intellectuals and the media" participating to show their solidarity with Arab people in Egypt. In addition, the participants called for the elimination of restrictions on freedoms in Iraq and called for basic services to be provided. Speakers spoke of "the long revolution" as Arabs have fought against dictatorships. Again, these protests are nothing new. And the lack of reliable public services are among the reasons that Kirkuk's brief decision to cut off electricity to Baghdad was so popular throughout the country.




Staying with the issue of the press, Josh Halliday (Guardian) reported in the middle of this month that the Guardian had, on appeal, won in the libel case brought against them by Nouri al-Maliki's Iraqi National Intelligence Service over this article. Meanwhile al Furat reports that Kata Rikabi, secretary to Nouri al-Maliki, is suing the Euphrates newspaper and the paper's editor Hussein Khoshnaw over articles al Furat published. Established a month after the start of the Iraq War, Al-Furat was previously (2007) targeted with a bomb threat at their Sydney offices.


Meanwhile Ayad Allawi appears to have lost any remaining bits of trust in Nouri al-Maliki. Al Rafidayn reports that he has requested Massoud Barzani, President of the KRG, be present for a mediation between Allawi and al-Maliki. Despite promising Allawi he would head the National [Security] Council, it has still not been created. Earlier this month, a meeting was held with Ibrahim al-Jaafari attending and that moved no mountain. Al Mada reports that Iraqiya is accusing Nouri of working against the agreements formed to allow him to continue as prime minister and they accuse him of preventing the formation of the National Council. An unnamed source with the Iraqi National Alliance tells Al Mada that no National Council issues will be resolved until Nouri has named the security posts that remain empty in his Cabinet and the source expects that will take at least two weeks. Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya slate was the winner in the March 7th elections. After nearly nine months of no progress, he entered into an arrangement with Nouri al-Maliki to allow al-Maliki to be prime minister. The trade-off for Nouri being prime minister included clearing the names of several Sunni politicians and making Allawi head of the National Council -- a new body that would be created. Allawi objected in the first meeting of Parliament after the arrangment had been made because the aspects of the deal involving Iraqiya were being set aside for a later date. He walked out of the session. He was right to worry because it's over a month later and there's still no creation of the National Council. Nouri got what he wanted and may or may not live up to the bargain he made.


In the past, Nouri has rarely lived up to the deals he brokered. Had the Parliament and political parties known, when the arrangement was made, that Nouri had gone to the Supreme Court (December 18th) to have powers pulled from independent outsiders and placed under the prime minister, it is doubtful he would have become Prime Minister December 25th (the thirty days prior to that he was prime minister-designate). The power-grab only became known last week. AFP reports that Nouri al-Maliki defended his power-grab Sunday insisting that his appeal to the Supreme Court to have the central bank, the electoral commission, the human rights commmission and the anti-corruption body placed under his control was forthe good of Iraq. AFP notes:

Several of the agencies affected have themselves criticised the supreme court ruling, saying it harmed their non-partisan reputation, while opponents of the decision have called it a move by Maliki to consolidate power.
Maliki, who formed his cabinet last December after political bickering that left Iraq without a government for more than nine months, also said there was still was no agreement on the four key defence, intelligence, security and interior ministry portfolios, which remain vacant.

Fadi al-Issa (Zawya) reports Nouri was not the only one addressing his power-grab yesterday:

The adviser of the Iraqi Central BankIraqi Central Bank (ICB) warned on Sunday of the repercussions of the Federal Court's recent ruling that links the bank directly to the council of ministers in exposing Iraqi funds to risks.
Muzher Mohammed Saleh told AKnews today that the international financial environment is risky and instead of referring the Central Bank to a judicial power, there is need to make diversity in the management of foreign financial reserves in the countries to escape any legal proceedings affecting the debt of the Iraqi government that are protected under resolution 1483 of the international security council.

Saif Tawfeeq (Reuters) reports that Nouri insisted today that the bodies would continue to be autonomous ones despite his control of them. Alsumaria TV adds, "Iraq's Parliament is due to host on Tuesday heads of the independent commissions to discuss the ruling of placing certain institutions under ministerial control. The Parliament is expected to receive head of the Integrity Commission Rahim Al Ukaili, the High Electoral Commission Chairman Faraj Al Haidair and Central Bank Chief Sanan Al Shabibi, a source from the Parliament speaking on condition of anonymity told Alsumaria News."




In news of violence, Saad Abdul-Kadir (AP) reports four Baghdad bombings have left seven people wounded and that 1 employee of the Ministry of Electricity was shot dead. Reuters reports eight were wounded including police Brig Gen Adday Mahmoud and they note 1 security contractor was shot dead in Baghdad yesterday and a Baghdad sticky bombing yesterday injured a cleric. That's 2 people dead and nine wounded and there was no violence reporting on Sunday (even Reuters was obsessed with other stories in other countries). Excuse me, today IBC reports that 4 security forces were killed in Baghdad and 1 PUK in Kirkuk on Sunday. That's 7 dead and nine wounded. So let's add the numbers. From The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: The silences on Iraq:"



Let's review. January 1st, 1 person was reported dead and nine injured. January 2nd, 9 people were reported dead and six wounded. January 3rd, 5 were reported dead and twenty-eight wounded. January 4th, 3 were reported dead and five wounded. January 5th, 2 were reported dead and eleven injured. January 6th, one person was reported injured. January 7th, 5 were reported dead. January 8th, 9 were reported dead and eight injured. January 9th, 1 person was reported dead and another reported wounded. January 10th, 4 were reported dead and sixteen injured. January 11th, 4 were reported dead and nineteen injured. January 12th, 4 were reported dead and four were injured. January 13th, 3 were reported dead and fourteen injured. January 14th, 2 people were reported dead. January 15th, six people were reported injured. January 16th, six people were reported wounded. January 17th, 1 person was reported dead and nine injured. January 18th, 60 people were reported dead and one hundred and sixty four injured. January 19th, 25 people were reported dead and forty-two injured. January 20th, 68 were reported dead and one hundred and sixty injured. January 21st, no reports of deaths or injured. January 22nd, no reports of deaths or wounded. January 23rd, 8 people were reported dead and thirty-seven wounded. January 24th, 34 people were reported dead and one hundred and fifty-six people were reported wounded. January 25th, seven people were reported wounded. January 26th, 6 were reported dead and one injured. January 27th, sixty-three people were reported dead and one hundred and four injured. January 28th, 2 were reported dead and eight injured. January 29th, five were reported dead. Through Saturday, at least 320 people have been reported dead and eight hundred and three injured. In addition, 6 US service members have died in Iraq so far this month.


Today reports of 7 dead and nine wounded. At least 327 people were reported dead in January with at least 805 reported wounded. (As always, check that math.) The always laughable Iraq Coalition Casualty Count lists 210 dead (that's 11 ISF with 199 "Civ" -- deaths are deaths and I believe after the SIGR report people should pay a lot more attention to 'security' deaths than they have been). Last week, Ammar Karim (AFP) noted December's death toll was 151. It's a dramatic increase. Especially when you consider that just last week, US President Barack Obama stood before the American people, delivering his State of the Union address, and claiming 'progress' in Iraq. Historians Against the War offer this reply to the State of the Union Address:


The peace movement is critical of Mr. Obama's desire to maintain a significant military presence in Iraq, despite his earlier advocacy of complete withdrawal of our fighting forces from that country. We need to bring a complete end to our unjust intervention in Iraq. Although 60 percent of the U.S. public now believes that the war in Afghanistan is "not worth fighting," the administration's December 2010 review of Afghanistan policy led to dubious claims of successes, which the president repeated in his State of the Union address, and to a decision to continue the war for four more years. The choice to continue a policy which the government's own National Intelligence Estimate makes clear is failing is a grave error. How many more people must die before the forces in conflict sit around a table to negotiate an end to an unwinnable war? With the government making use of private corporations to carry out its military enterprise and warfare, military expenditures have continued to grow under Mr. Obama, reaching over one trillion dollars in 2010 alone. How can the government meet the needs of the people of the United States when military expenditures are at such a level?
Peace forces are also troubled by the administration's human rights record, by its failure to close the Guant√°namo prison as promised, by the opening of military trials of detainees in defiance of international human rights standards, by the many deaths of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan in attacks that amount to war crimes, by continuing interventions against left-wing governments in Latin America, by the recent FBI raids against peace activists, and by the U.S.'s failure to pressure Israel to end its denial of Palestinian rights. Although peace and justice activists support the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," we do not agree that democratic reform should be used to promote further militarization of our society as Mr. Obama did with his call to universities to open their doors to the ROTC and military recruiters. Our university graduates are needed in fields that meet people's needs and that develop the country's infrastructure rather than in staffing an overextended empire.
The human cost to the civilians in societies where we are intervening and to our own and other combatants is tragic and unsustainable. Continuing down the path of spending almost as much on the military as all other countries put together is bankrupting the country, failing to achieve the control our government seeks, and making us less safe.






iraq
david swanson
the associated press
the washington post
walter pincus
60 minutes
cbs news
al mada
ayas hossam acommok
the guardian
josh halliday
al furat
al rafidayn
historians against the war

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday

This is from Christopher Calabrese's "Spying On Surfing: Why We Need a 'Do Not Track' List" (ACLU Blog of Rights):

The new model of Internet advertising scares the heck out of us. It's called behavioral targeting. What that amounts to, in a nutshell, is following you around the web from site to site recording your movements and using that record to sell you personalized ads. All those ads that pop up on the side of articles on your favorite websites like ESPN.com or NYTimes.com are often not provided by those sites, they are from third parties that you've never heard of, with names like Lotame Solutions Inc. Using a variety of techniques, those companies are tracking where you go throughout the web.

Some advertisers like this because they can charge a premium for this personalization. For example, when someone visits an automotive website, knowing his or her income level allows the advertiser will know whether to highlight a Subaru or a Range Rover. According to one online advertising CEO's statement "[m]oving from site-targeting to people-targeting is the central dynamic of the industry". But the inevitable byproduct of all of this tracking is the creation of an extremely detailed profile on all of us — what we read, what we do and where we go online. And this information is not anonymous. Using clues — from pages we log into or visits to our profiles on social networking sites — we reveal our identity.

Worst of all, these online profiles do not stay with the advertisers. They are merged with "offline content," namely the information that advertisers, background check companies and data aggregators have been collecting on us for years. All of these companies have contracts with employers and the government. One company boasts it's "the silent partner to municipal, county, state, and federal justice agencies who access our databases every day to locate subjects, develop background information, secure information from a cellular or unlisted number, and much more."

I really think people are not taking this seriously enough. If I am right (I would love to be wrong), in about four or five years, people are going to be outraged over what has taken place.

Last night Parks and Recreation aired on NBC (and is now up at Hulu -- which is where my link goes, the Parks and Recreation page at Hulu). Leslie had the flu. The whole town was getting it. She was sick but the episode underscored how she really is suited for her job because she had to give a really important speech and she was so out of it but managed to rise to the moment.

My only problem -- the whole episode was great -- is Rob Lowe. I think his character is interesting but he is (thus far) just to out there for Ann. If he were going after Leslie, you could enjoy the ride because Leslie has a nutty side to her. But Ann is just not that way and, for me, it is uncomfortable to watch her like a man who refers to himself as a microchip (among other things).


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, January 28, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Iraqi women get some press coverage, new numbers are out on Iraqi refugees, Nancy A. Youssef pens a new attack piece in her new role as Judith Miller of 2011, and more.
Starting with Iraqi refugees. Jacques Clement (AFP) reports that the number of Iraqi refugees -- internal and external -- returning fell in 2010. And other than that, you're going to have to ignore AFP. I have no idea why it so confusing to so very many and with Clement, he's reporting breaking news and has that excuse. But many others don't. The UN will be releasing a breakdown of the numbers and that's not going to help either. A number of outlets, even using the official UN breakdown, haven't been able to get it right. PDF format warning, click here to see the numbers for January 2010 through August 2010. External refugees -- Iraqis who left the country -- who came back to Iraq are listed under "Refugees" on the "Returning Iraqis 2010" graph. Furthermore, you're using the "IND" numbers (individuals) and not "FAM" (families). From January through August, 18,240 Iraqis refugees returned to Iraq. UNHCR says the numbers continued to drop in the last months of the year. If we've all followed that, let's return to the AFP article: "According to UNHCR figures, the number of Iraqis returning to their home country peaked in March, with a total of 17,080 returns in the same month Iraq held its second parliamentary polls since dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted." What does that sentence say to you?
It appears to say that 17,080 Iraqi refugees who had left Iraq returned in the month of March. That is incorrect. Go back to the chart. How many Iraqis returned from outside of Iraq? 2450. So where's the 17,080? Look at the number of internally displaced Iraqis (Iraqis in Iraq but not in their own homes) for the month of March: 14,630 were able to return to their homes. You add those two numbers and you'll get 17,080. 17,080 is not the number of Iraqis who returned to Iraq in March. Are reporters not understanding the figures or are they deliberately distorting them? I don't know. We dealt with this last November 28th but we've dealt with it over and over since the start of The Myth of the Great Return. If you're looking for an example of someone who has and does consistently grasp the numbers, Kim Gamel's AP report today is the usual strong work from Gamel who explains, "Most returnees were internally displaced people who had fled to other parts of the country. Only 26,410 returned from Syria, Iran and Jordan and other countries, down from 37,090 in 2009, according to the report."
Alsumaira TV reports, "With the participation of Iraqi and foreign organizations and in the presence of Ambassadors to Iraq and officials from Kurdistan and Baghdad, Arbil hosted a conference on the role of women in building peace and reconciliation in Iraq. The conference criticized the political parties in Iraq and the central government over 'marginalizing' women in the new government." The conference ends today, it was a two-day conference. It was an international conference. And it says a great deal about the English-speaking press, or rather, the lack of coverage does.

Were this a business conference, there would be the financial press covering it as well as write ups in the general press. Were it on cholera or any of the illnesses that so frequently plague Iraq, the health press would cover it and the general press would do a few write ups. Were it on 'security,' the entire press would be ga-ga over it 'reporting' with advertising copy. But when the conference deals with women, where's the press?

If you're late to it, we covered the conference in yesterday's snapshot. Today on Morning Edition (NPR), Kelly McEvers and Isra al Rubeii report on Iraqi women married to 'terrorists' -- dubbed terrorists by the government of Iraq, a government that itself terrorizes its own people. Whether they're forced into the marriage by families or not, it's the women's fault in the eyes of the 'government' of Iraq. Their husband takes an action, well, the women are responsible because they should have known. It's a real damn shame that the US-government installed so many exiles to begin with but it's even more surprising how grossly ignorant the exiles are. Excerpt:
Kelly McEvers: Um Salah says that with her husband now in jail and accused of being a terrorist, she has no money and no hope. While she talks, [her two-year-old son] Salah hangs on her shoulder.
UM SALAH: (Through translator) Sometimes, you know, when she is so much fed up with her situation, she would just pray for God: God, take my life. I mean, okay. I mean, let me die with my son, now.
MCEVERS: Aid groups say there are more than a hundred women like Um Salah in Diyala Province alone. With that in mind, the Iraqi government recently launched an anti-al-Qaida media campaign.
(Soundbite of a video)
Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)
Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)
Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)
MCEVERS: A video showed authorities digging through a bomb-making factory, and it urged women not to marry insurgents. Marry a terrorist, and your children will have no rights, the campaign goes. Marry a terrorist, and you'll be shunned by society.
The program, broadcast on state TV, featured two women who said they were forced to marry foreign fighters.
Unidentified Woman #2: (Foreign language spoken)
MCEVERS: This woman says her uncle arranged a marriage with a Palestinian-born militant from Syria. The man was later killed in a raid by Iraqi troops. About 20 women who once were married to militants have recently been detained. Ministry of Defense spokesman Mohammad al-Askari says he finds it hard to believe that any of them are totally innocent.
So they deny these women social services ensuring the women are punished for crimes they took no part in and the children are raised in situations that breed anger and create future strife -- which is a petri dish brimming with the potential for an endless cycle of violence. Again, it's a real shame that idiots were installed by the US government to run (and ruin) Iraq. In related news, Michael Grossberg (Columbus Dispatch) reports: on Heather Raffo's attempt to give voice to Iraqi women via her play Sounds of Desire:

An Iraqi-American actress and playwright developed an off-Broadway hit by creating nine diverse portraits of Iraqi women.
[. . .]
Raffo, raised in Michigan as a Roman Catholic with an Iraqi father and an American mother, created her characters as composites - culled from dozens of interviews she conducted with Iraqi women and their families. She met the women over more than eight years and on four continents.
"All of them have different points of view about the situation they're living in that are surprising to an American audience," she said.
Among her characters: a girl who wants to attend school but is stuck at home because of the military occupation of her country; a m ullaya, a woman who leads the call and response at funerals; a bedouin who ponders a move to London; an expatriate in London; a painter who seeks freedom amid the regime of Saddam Hussein; and a woman in America, with family in Iraq, who watches the war on television.

Manal Omar is the author Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity -- My Own and What it Means to be a Woman in Chaos. Starting in the 1990s, she has done humanitarian work in Iraq. NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq interviewed her this week about the status of women's rights in the new 'democratic' Iraq. Excerpt:

NCCI: As the former Regional Coordinator for Women for Women International in Iraq, what do you feel are some of the greatest obstacles facing NGOs which operate in the sector of women's rights?

Manal Omar: The biggest challenge is when women become the negotiating chip. One of the titles of my chapters in my book is "Negotiating Chip," because I witnessed too often how women's rights were used during political or social bargaining. For example, you may have high-level Kurdish representatives that believe 100% in women's rights. However, during political debates, or when it's time to vote on a resolution, they will not vote pro-women. When I would challenge them, they often would say that their primary issue is federalization, and as a result, they would strike a deal on a resolution for women if more conservative parties would vote on the resolution of federalization. The second challenge is what I call the "not now" argument. This argument usually states that because of overall violence and instability, it is not an appropriate time to discuss women's issues. I have witnessed how the "not now" easily becomes the "not ever." Women must maximize the window of opportunity to push their rights forward.


NCCI: When was the last time that you were in Iraq? Did you notice any changes in women's status in the country at that time?

Manal Omar: The last time I was in Iraq was December 2010. Unfortunately, during my trip there was the announcement of the new government ministries. It was very sad to see that Iraqi women were not part of the list of ministries at all. Many of the women's organizations I have worked with for the last seven years called me and were in shock to see how Iraqi women continue to lose rights rather than gain them! After the previous elections, there were 6 female ministers; now there are none. Even the Ministry for Women's Affairs has an interim male Minister. This highlights that the challenge facing women is stronger than ever.

NCCI: Who do you consider as the most vulnerable groups of women today in Iraq? What special protection should NGOs and the government seek to provide them with?

Manal Omar: The most vulnerable groups would be women heads of households; this usually means widows, divorcés, or unmarried women. They do not have the access or mobility than men generally have. They are often more vulnerable in times of limited security and have less access to income. A lack of security remains the primary obstacle limiting women's ability to attain economic self-sufficiency. Naturally, women in that category who are either internally displaced people (IDPs) or refugees in neighbouring countries are at twice the riskk. NGOs should focus on programs that are accessible for these women. The best programs will not be able to succeed if women are not able to come, and that is often the case with the vulnerable women. They have very limited mobility. The more the program is available with limited transportation time and costs, the more accessible it will be for these groups. Overall, the Iraqi government is still the primary duty bearer and should have programs targeting the most vulnerable groups. These programs should be easy to access, with minimum bureaucracy and clear application steps.

On the issue of Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet, from the December 29th snapshot:
There are also calls from the National Alliance for the process to be speeded up and for more women to be named with the latter calls being led by the Virtue Party's Kamilp Moussawi who notes that the last Cabinet had 7 women ministers. In addition, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has received a letter from female MPs formally protesting the marginalization of women in the Cabinet. As noted last Wednesday, among the female MPs protesting the inequality is Ala Talabani, Jalal's niece.
Nouri does not have a complete cabinet. There are 42 posts. 32 are filled. 29 if you're honest. Besides being prime minister, Nouri appointed himself to three posts -- Minister of Defense, Minister of the Interior and National Security Minister. Despite this, Noui had the nerve to claim, December 22nd, when he finally held his first Cabinet meeting, that security was one of "his three top priorities."
Last week and this week, Iraq's been slammed by bombings. Yesterday, Baghdad was slammed with bombings, the most violent of which appears to have targeted a funeral. AP notes that the death toll in that bombing has risen to 51 with one-hundred-and-twenty-three more people left injured. Liz Sly and Ali Qeis (Washington Post) report, "In scenes of chaos after the blast, enraged residents and mourners threw rocks at police to prevent them from reaching the site. When Iraqi army reinforcements arrived, a small group of gunmen hiding in a nearby building shot at them, prompting the soldiers to open fire over the heads of the crowd, according to an official with the army's Baghdad operations command, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media." War News Radio spoke to the New York Times John Leland about Monday's attacks. Excerpt:
John Leland: Well it's hard to draw too many conclusions on just a couple of days. The attacks of today were on Shi'ite pilgrims walking towards Karbala which they do every year and have for the last seven years, since the fall of Saddam Hussein because Saddam had banned that march and every year they're attacked. So the fact that there are these attacks on them -- and to an extent, yesterday as well -- you know, it is, to some extent, to be expected.
Aaron Moser: Although some violence can be understood as part of a cyclical sectarian conflict, Leland thinks that other types of new violence are more concerning.
John Leland: The attack of earlier in the week --- the several attacks earlier in the week on security forces are presenting a different kind of subtleties. If the insurgency or whoever is doing this, he is able to mount sustained attacks on security forces. That causes huge problems for the country and does bring back echoes of the bad old days of 2005, 2006, 2007.
As one attack after another continues, one would think Nouri would start appointing people for the posts of Minister of Defense, Minister of the Interior and National Security Minister. However, Nouri's apparently comfortable going on and filling each one. A number of deals were made by Nouri to build a power-sharing coalition. The deals promised too much (if you only have 2x, you can't promise to provide 150x and even creating additional Cabinet posts out of whole cloth -- which Nouri has done -- won't allow him to honor all the deals made). Iraqiya, which received the most votes in the March 7th vote, was promised many things. They'd hoped to have a number of Cabinte posts. They'd hope to have Falah al-Naqib appointed as Minister of Defense. Barring that, they wanted Iskandar Wattout. Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that Falah al-Naqib is out as a nominee and that everyone believes the post of Minister of the Interior will go to Aqil Turaihi (member of Nouri's Dawa political party).

Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing injured three people (two were police officers), a Baghdad roadside bombing injured one person, 1 "employee of the Public Integrity Commission" was shot dead in Baghdad and, dropping back to yesterday, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left four more injured.
Moving to the topic of electricity, earlier this month the Ministry of Electricity's Undersecretary declared that Iraq's energy problem won't be solved until 2014 at the earliest. As with security, Nouri didn't address this issue in his previous four years as prime minister and hasn't addressed it thus far in his current term. Dropping back to the snapshot from January 18th:
Turning to news of basic services, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Yahya Barzanji (AP) report on Abdul-Rahman Mustafa, Governor of Tamim Province, and his decision to stop supplying Baghdad with electricity while his capital (Kirkuk) makes do with less than four hours of electricity each day. Marwan Ibrahim (AFP) adds, "Rizgar Ali, chairman of Kirkuk's provincial council, said the procedure of separating from the national grid was completed on Tuesday evening." An unnamed US embassy official expresses concern and remind, "We saw riots last summer . . . that's a concern." Al Rafidayn terms it a "secession" and notes local demonstrators ("dozens") protested between Kirkuk and Erbil over the fact that they have daily power outages in excess of twenty hours. Al Sabaah reports that Monday saw over 1,000 people demonstrate in Diyala Province's Khan Bani Saad over the poor services and the deterioration of edcation offered -- on the latter, specific complaints include that the sole school was so small and "built with mud" and has over 1300 students enrolled in it.
Today Lebanon's Daily Star reports, "Iraq's Kirkuk Province resumed power supplies to the national grid Friday, after a deal that ended a dispute this week over electricity provisions. [. . .] Electriciy Ministry officials agreed Thursday to immediately increase Kirkuk's quota by nearly 50 percent which still leaves the province woefully short of 24-hour power." An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers investigated the electricity issue and utilized stringers for various provinces to compile the following hard data at Inside Iraq:
Province Hours of Power in 24 hours Population
Wasit 10 - 12 Shi'ite majority
Amara 10 - 12 Shi'ite majority
Basra 10 - 12 Shi'ite majority
Thi Qar 12 Shi'ite majority
Muthanna 12 Shi'ite majority
Babil 12 Shi'ite majority
Diwaniyah 12 Shi'ite majority
Diyala 8 Mixed
Nineveh 2 - 4 Sunni majority
Kirkuk 4 Sunni majority
Anbar 4-5 Sunni majority
BAGHDAD:
My neighbourhood 4
Meanwhile AFP reports that Sheikh Ahmed al-Safi declared today that "many MPs were falsely claiming tens of thousands of dollars as security expenses and pocketing the money."

"It was a genuinely joint group," Gus O'Donnell insisted to the Iraq Inquiry today as he attempted to paint a happy face on things and to take the committee members where he wanted. Next week, the Inquiry hears from Stephen Pattison, John Buck and, most interesting for the press, Jack Straw. Gus O'Donnell was Cabinet Secretary in 2005 and with the Treasury prior to that. BBC News reports:

Sir Gus told the inquiry that the Blair government had fewer Cabinet meetings than his immediate predecessors and his successors as prime ministers because he took a "certain view" about what could be achieved through collective decisions.
Asked why this was the case, Sir Gus said he believed the prime minister had concerns about how watertight discussions in Cabinet would be.

While O'Donnell wasted plenty of time talking about Afghanistan (it's not the "Afghanistan Inquiry"), he did offer a few revelations and sketch out that, hiding behind claims of 'the press will find out,' Tony Blair kept many key leaders uninformed and underinformed during the decision making process. Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) notes that O'Donnell stated that Blair shouldn't have kept his Cabinet in the dark that the Attorney General had serious doubts that the Iraq War could be legal without a second resolution from the United Nations (there was no second resolution, for those late to the party) and emphasizes this quote: "The ministerial code is very clear about the need, when the attorney general gives written advice, the full text of that advice should be attached [to cabinet papers]." Rosa Prince (Telegraph of London) adds, "Giving evidence before the Iraq Inquiry, Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, said that the former prime minister did not consider cabinet meetings to be a 'safe place' where disagreements could be aired in private."
The Iraq Inquiry is taking place in London. It is the latest examination by the British into the Iraq War. The US has not provided even one solid investigation. Nor has Australia. Those three countries were the primary players/criminals in the illegal war. Chris Doran (On Line Opinion) argues for an inquiry to take place in Australia:

The Howard Government's decision to not only support but to participate in the invasion was not, as we all vividly remember, without significant opposition. Howard was warned repeatedly that a military invasion of Iraq was illegal and would contravene the United Nation's charter. Countless experts refuted alleged intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and ties to Al Queda; many warned that invading Iraq would only inflame anti-western radical Islamic sentiment. And Australians took to the streets in mass protests not seen since the previous national debacle of following the US blindly into a brutal and unjust war in Vietnam. We now know of course that there were no WMD's or ties to Al Queda; even more importantly, we know that Howard, Bush, and Blair knew at the time that there was no evidence. Put simply, they lied.
The British Chilcot Inquiry has largely focused on the legality of the invasion, and what then British Prime Minister Tony Blair knew, and when he knew it. This is somewhat of a moot point; the leaked Downing Street memo of July 2002 established that Blair knew then that the US had already decided to invade, and that the UN Security Council debate and attempt to secure a new resolution justifying force was all theatre. But it is not nor should it be a moot point for Australia.
As revealed in the 2006 Cole Inquiry into the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) kickback scandal, in early 2002 John Dauth, then Australia's ambassador to the United Nations, told AWB Chairman Trevor Flugge that US military action to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein was inevitable, and that Australia would support and participate in such action. Flugge then dutifully reported this to the AWB Board of Directors on February 27, 2002. And so AWB was given advance notice of the Howard Government's intention to participate militarily a full year before the invasion took place and well before any sort of informed debate had begun. Issues of legality, justice, the rule of law, and innocent civilian lives clearly never entered into the decision making process, but Australia's wheat exports to Iraq did. That revelation alone should have prompted an Inquiry years ago.
An excellent starting question for John Howard testifying at an independent Inquiry would be why and how his Government had already decided a year in advance to participate in an invasion.
We support Bradley Manning. Who? Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning is now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. Paul Courson (CNN) notes Bradley is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say."
What does that mean?
It means we don't link to Nancy A. Youssef's article for McClatchy Newspapers. Why not? Go through our archives, do a search of this site with "The Diane Rehm Show" and "Nancy A. Youssef" and "Bradley Manning" as key terms. Nancy has been on a one-woman witch hunt with regards to Bradley. She has repeatedly convicted him on air on The Diane Rehm Show -- not just once, not just twice, not just three times. She has done this over and over and over. (Though a guest on today's show, she didn't discuss Bradley -- they were obsessed with Egypt -- which had already been an hour long topic on Thursday's Diane Rehm Show but still became the thrust of today's international hour.) Nancy is also very close to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
A number of outlets are putting the claims in Nancy's bad article out there and treating them as fact. Let's review it. (If you must read it, the title is "Probe: Army ignored warnings over soldier" and you can Google that.) Nancy knows about an Army report -- how? Her friends she leaves unnamed. (But I can name them.) This report is the result of an investigation, she says, and it found unflattering things about Bradley. She says. And she can say so, she says, because she has "two military officials familiar with investigation" (but not the report?) who talked to her. Once upon a time, you had to have three sources. Always wonder about unsourced claims with two sources. Though she hasn't seen the report, Nancy yacks on and on about the report -- when not -- FOR NO NATURAL REASON -- bringing in Major Nidal Hasan. That's your clue that Nancy's gone skinny dipping in a cesspool she wants to pass off as journalism. Hasan shot dead many at Fort Hood. So Nance just wants to bring him into the article for . . . local color? Extra seasoning? She knows what she's doing and she knows it's not journalism.
You've been repeatedly warned about McClatchy of late and about Nancy in particular who is sending off alarms at McClatchy. What she's done is write a smear-job, she has not reported. For her friends in the Defense Dept, she has attacked Bradley in an unsourced article that doesn't pass the smell test. There is a term for it, "yellow journalism." She should be ashamed of herself and everyone running with the claims she's making in this article needs to ask how they think they're helping Bradley?
They also should note that Nancy made no effort to get a comment from Bradley's attorney. While painting Bradley in an unflattering light throughout her article, she never tries for a quote, she only repeats what her Defense 'chums' and . . . tell her. She's becoming the new Judith Miller and that's her fault but also the fault of a lot of people who should have been calling her out months ago but let her slide and slide.
TV notes. Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen are Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Jackie Calmes (New York Times), Susan Davis (National Journal) and John Dickerson (CBS News). Gwen's latest column is " Date Night: Or Why the Best Part of the State of the Union Address Wasn't the Speech." Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Sam Bennett, Cari Dominguez, Kristen Soltis and Patricia Sosa to discuss the week's events on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. Online, it provides an extra segment, a discussion about Rick Santorum's remarks about Barack Obama. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

WikiLeaks
Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, speaks to Steve Kroft about the U.S. attempt to indict him on criminal charges and the torrent of criticism aimed at him for publishing classified documents. (This is a double-length segment.)


In Search of the Jaguar
"60 Minutes" went in search of the most elusive of all of nature's big cats, the jaguar, and captured amazing footage of them in the Brazilian jungle. Bob Simon reports. | Watch Video


Sunday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Radio notes. The Diane Rehm Show begins airing on most NPR stations (and begins streaming online live) at 10:00 am EST. The first hour, domestic hour, Diane's panelists include Chris Cillizza (Washington Post), Jeanne Cummings (Politico) and Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune). The second hour, international hour, her panelists include Michele Kelemen (NPR), David Sanger (New York Times) and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers). Diane's broadcast are archived and can be streamed online at no charge.